Connecting The Dots
By Larry Kelley
"It is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is permission." -Bernie Ward, KGO
Do you know where your taxes are? Neither does your government. While all eyes are on the Gulf Coast and the multi-billion dollar reconstruction estimates, it has quietly been learned that $1 billion has somehow "disappeared" in Iraq as a result of possibly "one of the largest thefts in history."
The British newspaper, The Independent, has reported that $1 billion in US cash-the entire military procurement budget-has been "plundered from Iraq's Defense Ministry."
The money, intended to train and equip the Iraqi Army instead was "siphoned abroad in cash" and "it has disappeared," said the Independent. Iraq's Finance Minister, Ali Allawi described it as "one of the largest thefts in history," making it that much more difficult for US troops to leave Iraq.
Senior Iraqi officials said they can't understand how the "carefully planned theft" could have passed unnoticed by the US military in Baghdad and civilian advisors working in the Defense Ministry.
The Independent said there also are reports of other large sums, at least $100 million missing from other ministries in Iraq. "No one knows how much," the Independent said.
The Pentagon still has not been able to account for $8.8 billion missing from the initial coalition government headed by L. Paul Bremer. Most reconstruction projects were halted several months ago after $20 billion in reconstruction funds were used for "security" instead.
Now, the Bush Administration is asking on the Internet for private contributions to eight reconstruction projects that are on hold. But "for security reasons" contributors have no way of knowing who is getting the money, but urges donations "as a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq."
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First in line for Gulf Coast hand-outs was, guess who, Haliburton, Dick Cheney's old friends whose subsidiary, Kellog, Brown & Root was awarded $29.9 million in Katrina flood contracts even before Oprah showed up to save everyone.
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The Bush regime didn't even bother to respond to Cuba's offer to send 1586 specially trained disaster doctors with their own equipment to the Gulf Coast, according to Pacific Radio. The doctors all were experienced in establishing clinics in remote disaster areas around the world.
Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez also offered help despite being threatened with assassination by evangelist Jerry Falwell. After he was rejected, he called Bush the "King of Vacations."
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After ignoring the Gulf Disaster for three days while on vacation, Bush wildly pledged "no limit" to how much the government would spend on clean-up, but said the money would come from social programs, his favorite scapegoat, and not from any suspension of his tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which total $336 billion over the next five years.
His next move was to suspend the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931, which requires employers to pay the locally prevailing wage to workers on federally financed projects. The suspension allows employers to pay below-poverty wages on Gulf Coast reconstruction.
Our thoughtful leader then suspended the government requirement that its contractors have an Affirmative Action plan to include minorities, women, Vietnam Vets and the disabled. Goodbye L-word.
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In an attempt to look like he cares about blacks, W wormed his way into the Washington National Cathedral for a photo-op with Bishop T.D. Jakes, one of the most popular and powerful black preachers in America. At the invitation of the White House, Bishop Jakes presented a sermon for a group of Katrina victims at the Cathedral prayer service.
Writing for the New York Times, Elizabeth Bumiller wrote that during the sermon, the Bishop "seemed at times to look straight at Mr. Bush," and said, "It is not so important what we say. It is important what we do. Defining moments of history cannot be defined by rhetoric and words or anger, or soliciting people to respond in a tempestuous way. But real leadership is defined by what we do." This probably is as close to a tongue-lashing as Bush will get directly, considering at that point he had done virtually nothing.
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To add to the Bush Image, the president's mother showed her compassion with this infamous quote, uttered while touring Houston Hurricane Relief centers with her husband:
"What I'm hearing, which is sort of scary, is that they (evacuees) all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality and so many of the people in the arena here, you know, are underprivileged anyway. So this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."
Wolf Blitzer of CNN was more economical with his insult: "So poor, so black."
He forgot to mention they were probable Democrats. Strike three.
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Al Gore, the Man Who Should be President, rescued 247 elderly and sick New Orleans residents, when he chartered an American Airlines jet, filled it with doctors and nurses and made two trips to drop off evacuees in Nashville. This, while the president was still waiting for word from Cheney or Rove about what to do.
Writing for Alternet, NBC anchor Brian Williams described Bush's visits to New Orleans (well) after the storm as basically photo-ops in which lights and power came on wherever the president went, and suddenly went off wherever he left, "plunging the neighborhood back into total darkness."
Federal authorities prevented Humane Society volunteers from saving animals and pets in the aftermath of Katrina, according to Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle. Thousands were forced to leave their pets behind or stay with them and risk death.
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Shades of Watergate. Newsweek is reporting that President Bush is on the verge of firing Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald, who is ready to issue indictments involving the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. Bush's protector, Carl Rove, who has been accused of leaking the information to right-wing columnist Robert Novac, is pressuring the president to fire Fitzgerald "soon." Can't imagine why.
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John Roberts, the future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, is the man sent to Florida in 2000 to help Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris delay and distort the vote re-count long enough for the Supreme Court to slither into the picture. The rest is ugly history, and can only get worse: The National Debt is $2 Trillion higher than when Bush stole the presidency.
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